Chicago Cubs: Is Javier Baez a threat to Addison Russell’s long-term security?
Has Addison Russell stagnated at the plate?
Addison Russell is best summed up with one word: potential. Unfortunately, potential doesn’t always translate to success. Defensively there are no question marks with Russell. He’s an elite defender at the shortstop position. But the bat has been slow to develop. And despite his hitting prospects, there’s no guarantee he reaches his full potential at the plate.
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Since coming into the league in 2015, Russell slashed .240/.312/.407 with 44 home runs and 185 RBI. Not bad when you consider he’s still just 23 years old, but again, Russell is in his third year and very few improvements have been made at the plate since his rookie campaign. Russell’s 2017 season has been more of the same, slashing .241/.305/.417 in 348 plate appearances.
Some will point to his 95 RBI from last season as a turning point, but hitting with runners on base really isn’t a different skill set from hitting without runners on base. Hitting is still just … hitting.
The Cubs had a historically good offense in 2016. Runners were constantly on base ahead of Russell, who hit just .238 that season. That’s not to say there isn’t some sort of “clutch” factor at play, but it’s not as prominent as some like to believe.